This article provides a broad overview of sliding and adhesive wear, its processes, and its control, with special attention to three general classes of materials: metals, ceramics, and polymers. It discusses the ways in which materials can be damaged and removed during sliding contact. The article explains the physical and chemical nature of sliding surfaces. It presents wear equations, design criteria, and criteria for selection of materials. The article also describes the factors that affect wear performance of hybrid sliding systems. It concludes by providing general guidelines to prevent the sliding and adhesive wear in metals, polymers, and ceramics.